Barb’s Best Banana Bread

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By Barbara Revsine– If I had to pick a favorite recipe, the one for banana bread would be at the top of the list. A close friend gave it to me, and over the years, I’ve shared it with all of my friends who enjoy baking and even with some who don’t. It’s easy to make and freezes so well that my children contend there’s always one in my freezer.

I’m sometimes surprised at the popularity of banana bread and banana cake, but given that bananas are the top selling fresh fruit, I shouldn’t be. Curious about the difference between a banana “bread” and a banana “cake,” I checked out some recipes. In the 1997 edition of “The Joy of Cooking”, the cake version doesn’t include a tart ingredient like buttermilk or sour cream. On the other hand, the banana cake recipe in Andrea Chesman and Fran Raboff’s “Mom’s Best Desserts”  can be made with either, while the Classic Banana Bundt Cake in Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking From My Home to Yours” calls for sour cream or yogurt.

As to why my recipe is called a “bread,” rather than a “cake,” I can only surmise that it’s because it’s baked in a bread pan. Even so, the generous amounts of butter and sugar called for in the recipe argue for using it as a dessert. Baking it in a bread pan makes it especially easy to slice, and the shape works well on a buffet table. I always make the batter in my food processor, but it can certainly be done with a mixer. Just make sure that there aren’t any lumps. I bake the bread a non-stick, 9-inch by five-inch bread pan. Spraying the pan with a non-stick coating is a good idea, and I sometimes line the pan with parchment paper.

Makes 1 generous loaf


  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup sour milk or buttermilk
  • 8 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.Combine the bananas and butter. Beat-or process- until smooth.
  2. Add the sugar. Blend well.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl. Add to the batter along with the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add the milk and blend until smooth.
  5. Pour the batter into the pan, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean, about fifty-five to sixty minutes (It can even take longer).
  6. Once the bread comes out of the oven, let it sit for a few minutes before taking it out of the pan. Cool on a rack.

5 thoughts on “Barb’s Best Banana Bread

    • …no nuts in Barb’s recipe. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add some! I added chocolate chips to good effect. To add nuts: toast them first at 350 until fragrant. Chop a bit. Stir into batter just before pouring batter into pans. Good luck!

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